Sabina Belli, Pomellato CEO Discusses High Jewellery, Sustainability and Supporting Women

Lindsay Judge   |   01-11-2021

Last year, when the world was in turmoil, Pomellato brought joy with the launch of its first high jewellery collection.


Named La Gioia, meaning “joy” in Italian, the one-of-a-kind pieces took the brand’s unique style and DNA to the next level with a collection that allowed freedom of expression and elegance that resonates with the modern woman. This year, La Gioia returns with a second collection that is a love letter to the past, with a contemporary and sustainable twist. Divided into two chapters the collection defines the constraints of time and puts sustainable practices at the heart of each jewel.


In the first chapter, Pomellato creates one-of-a-kind pieces using beloved jewels from its own archive to make new designs that combine elements of the past with modern-day style. Archival pieces are reworked into contemporary jewels and given a second life. The second chapter is a high jewellery take on the house’s rich history of iconic chains and sautoirs. The collection celebrates a return to life and represents the key values that the brand holds dear to its heart. To find out more about the latest high jewellery collection as well as the brand’s future in the Middle East and its continued dedication to sustainability, we talk to CEO Sabina Belli.



Tell us about the second LA Gioia high jewellery collection and the vision behind it?

The high jewellery collection’s name “La Gioia” means “joy” in Italian and I think this is a really good place to start because when we were first thinking about this collection we considered the world at that time and everything that was happening with the pandemic and we were convinced that after such a terrible, historical moment for the planet, people would need something to rejoice about when we got back to “normal” life. This project was born in a moment when people were completely locked down in a very negative and scary mindset, and we at Pomellato, wanted to encourage them to think about joyful things and give our customers reasons to rejoice when we bounced back from the pandemic. And so, that is when we decided to launch a line of high jewellery, mainly consisting of unique pieces, but with a very strong concept that each of the pieces was very much inspired and in line with Pomellato’s strong aesthetics. It’s a combination of wanting to give people reasons to rejoice and expressing the most joyful facet of the brand. As well as amplifying and giving a more opulent and rich vision of our evergreen symbols, and finally, giving our goldsmiths and amazingly talented and exceptional artisans the possibility to express themselves through one-of-a-kind pieces.


Using pieces from the archives is something that has never been done before – tell us how this idea came about and what is the importance of it?

That is also very important to us when thinking of new ways to express Pomellato. With this collection and all our collections, we wanted to be extremely compliant with the rules around sustainability, respect and ethics. So something that came to mind was to give a second life to some of our archival jewellery pieces by revamping and redesigning them in a new way that reconsiders the way they can be worn. We have earrings that have become a necklace for example, and a pendant that became a brooch. Some of the pieces we already had in our archives and some we located through our partners and friends of the brand. It was a really interesting experience.



We know that it also highlights the brand’s commitment to sustainability – what can you tell us about that and the continued efforts at Pomellato to be a sustainable jewellery brand? 

We have been taking sustainability into account from day one because we have always been very concerned and worried by the fact that we operate in one of the least transparent industries in terms of its stones, so we wanted to make sure that at least where we can be, we are 100 per cent ethical. So our gold and diamonds are now totally certified and completely traceable, and there is a very clear blockchain so, in these fields, we are now 100 per cent ethical.


It’s more difficult when it comes to coloured gemstones because there are fewer certifications available, but having said that, we want to make sure that we are breaking ground on this, so we have been working on a couple of partnerships related to beginning this journey. We have been testing working with a specific mine for Lapis Lazuli to see how this works. There are so many layers to the process and it is very complicated. The most important part is to make sure that we have the traceability to at least go back as far as possible in the different players of the market to make sure that each of them is behaving in a compliant way. Particularly related to the wellbeing and safety of the workers across the supply chain.



The second part of the collection embraces freedom and creativity – how does this highlight the brand values of Pomellato? 

Even though we are much smaller than the big players in the market, we have a very recognisable style. We have very specific aesthetics and this was taken into consideration when we began to imagine the high jewellery collection. The project started by with a vision to create an even more impressive, opulent, and rich version of what already exists at the brand. So, for example, Vincenzo Castaldo our Creative Director started one design from a single stone from the Nudo collection and created a cascade of Nudo that took the design to the next level. He also took one very classic, iconic chain and created an incredibly versatile multicoloured version of it. So it was a question of carte blanche and total freedom for Vincenzo to express himself and it was quite fun compared with when we are creating ready-to-wear jewels as there are a lot more constraints related to price and the sourcing of the gems etc. but here there was more of the freedom to create fireworks and not worry about anything and it became a fabulous burst of creativity.


What do you think women are looking for from high jewellery today?

Most women around the world do not have a red-carpet occasion to attend in their regular lives. So what they are looking for is something that is accessible and wearable, even though it’s a precious piece. A piece that you could mix and match and wear even with a very simple sweater for example. It doesn’t have to be something that could only be worn on the red carpet. And also, I think they are looking for pieces that are timeless. You don’t want to own a piece of jewellery that screams 2020 and then, five years later, it’s dated. So there is this idea of mixing everlasting aesthetics and style with something that is also very approachable and intimate, and you want to wear it, because I think there is nothing more frustrating than having jewellery that’s kept in a vault.


Happy 20th anniversary for the Nudo collection – to what do you attribute the success of the design that has become an icon of all icons? 

Twenty years of age is in some ways very young, but in jewellery years it starts to become significantly old and it allows something to be categorised as a classic or iconic piece. Of course, we know that all major brands have an iconic timeless piece, and I think that if you look at what all these pieces have in common that’s when you discover the attributes of what makes something an icon. They are pieces that never go out of style, year after year you still feel they are relevant. And on the brand side, the owners make these iconic products constantly relevant. They don’t let them age badly. There are continual updates and tweaks to these iconic pieces and that is something that is very much needed in ensuring something becomes iconic. And that is what we have done with Nudo because we have constantly tweaked it and added pieces. We have many different sizes, colours and designs and it is constantly being reinvented. The latest collection is called “Chocolate” and it features a stone in a unique shade of brown. We have another capsule called “Gelé” which looks almost like frosted sweets and candies, so we like to play with it. One other very typical characteristic of an iconic design is that if you have one, you want another one! It becomes something that you want to collect. With Nudo you can stack the pieces, you can wear them in so many ways and mix and match the styles and colours together and that’s something that’s special about the collection. And one final impressive characteristic of Nudo is that it started as a ring, just a  stone on a simple design that didn’t distract from that stone, and now it’s been reinvented in so many ways which gives it a very versatile character.



What can you tell us about Pomellato in the Middle East?

We are always extremely attracted to the Middle East because it’s a region where women are very sophisticated, they have good taste, they know what fashion means and they love to pamper themselves. Dressing up is very important to women in the Middle East and their beauty is perfect for wearing jewellery because their beautiful features enhance the jewels. We have always dreamt of becoming a brand of choice in the Middle East and we are now proud to be distributed in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, and we are expanding little by little. We have a very nice store in The Dubai Mall.


We know that supporting women is something very important to you as a person and to the brand – what is in the pipeline in terms of projects on that front?

This is still a very important mission for us at Pomellato. Being a brand for women and having so many women who buy our products for themselves we feel very close to them. We have chosen to express our voice on the issue of domestic violence. It’s unbelievable that still today, one in three women in the world is a victim of domestic violence in some form. So we want to create awareness of this through two strong pillars. The first is to show women that there is the possibility to find freedom and escape the situation and to not consider themselves victims, but rather survivors. And then secondly, we need to educate men because if there are women who are victims of violence, it’s because there are violent men. So that needs to be stopped. No matter the culture, location, etc. – it is something that we need to raise our voices on. Through lockdown the number of women who were being subjected to domestic violence was shocking and for many of these women, the one escape they have is being able to leave the house to go to work and so in that situation things became difficult. Furthermore, the consequences of a woman being in a situation of violence also reflects on the children and the next generations because we know that children can be influenced by the behaviour, they see around them. Unfortunately, the number one problem with this situation is that women feel that they cannot speak up about it as there is such a strong social taboo, so we need to act as soon as possible and give women the possibility of speaking up and not be ashamed.


“Gioia” of course means “joy” in Italian – what brings you joy?

There are millions of things that bring me joy! Travelling was something that did but of course, that hasn’t been so easy recently. But I think I am someone who can be very joyful when something has been done and finished before moving on to the next thing. The very feeling of there being a before and after and the after bringing a visible solution rejoices me a lot.



What is something you would like to do at Pomellato that you haven’t done yet?

I still would very much like to convince the new generation that being a goldsmith is a great professional choice. This also has to do with convincing their families that the work of hands can be a beautiful thing. Craftsmanship is something that belongs to our culture and this excellence in producing things with your hands is such an incredible skill. I would love to make sure that there will continue to be goldsmiths in Italy across future generations.


What is the motto you live by?

“Life hasn’t done anything that human beings cannot survive”. And “There is a solution to everything, provided that you want it.”



What is a message you would send to your clients and fans reading this conversation?

I am getting more and more sensitive to the value of things. Not the financial value – yes money can buy all, but if you think of a jewel that has been made by hand, by someone that owns a technique that is so unique, that for me, has an amazing value and it should be recognised. A piece of jewellery has the added value of the human touch and I think that’s what sets it apart. I think that humans should go back to the real value of things and this is something that I want customers to remember when looking at Pomellato.


By Lindsay Judge